Tag Archives: glendale community college

Rick’s Sports Corner: Melissa Sanchez, Hard Working, Determined

By Rick Assad

Not many are lucky enough to know what they want to do professionally after college.

Melissa Sanchez doesn’t fall into this category, because the onetime Burbank High softball standout outfielder and Cal State East Bay graduate, had an inkling early on that she would be a coach.

“Reflecting back on when I played, my aspirations at the time were to play college level softball,” said the current Burbank High softball coach. “By hard work, dedication and commitment, I progressed into a college softball player. Throughout my college softball career, I admired my coaches for their persistent dedication and their devoted commitment to making myself and my teammates better. It was at that point I wanted to have an impact on young athletes that my coaches had on me. This led to my gravitation toward coaching young athletes.”

The transition from player to head coach has been smooth for Sanchez in her initial campaign.

Outfielder and Burbank High graduate, Melissa Sanchez swinging the bat for Cal State East Bay. (Photo courtesy Melissa Sanchez)

“The fact that I played my whole life, it helped me to understand to respect my coaches,” she said. “I would say it really helped me, not hinder. As a head coach, I look at every girl in my program and can relate to them. At one point in my softball life, I have experienced what they are experiencing. Therefore, I can relate and connect with the girls on a whole different level.”

But the softball season was interrupted in March.

“Unfortunately, we were all affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sanchez, who graduated from college in 2015 after spending two years at Glendale Community College and East Los Angeles College. “However, sometimes in life you need to take a step back in order to take two steps forward. These unusual times makes us appreciate how fortunate we are and how blessed we are to be able to go to school, work, play sports and have a numerous amount of opportunities and privileges.”

Being a coach can be trying, according to Sanchez, who started 105 games for the Pioneers across two seasons and batted .282 with 45 runs scored and 38 runs batted in while posting a .356 slugging percentage and a .342 on-base percentage.

“To be a player/athlete is difficult,” she said. “However, to be a head coach is much more difficult. As a player, I played for the girl next to me. As a head coach, I am coaching all players to play for one another. There are many components in order to keep harmony on the field and off the field. This is a lot easier said than done. As a head coach, I must be structured, organized and be able to earn the respect of all my players.”

Sanchez explained why it isn’t easy. “Being a coach is very tedious at any level,” she admitted. “There are a lot of variables which a head coach has to endure. In order to have a copacetic environment, a head coach must comprehend different players, different personalities and juggle egos. I believe parents get a bad rap. I happen to love the parents. They make it more of a learning experience and at the end, they are helping me and I am helping them.”

Sanchez spoke about what she wants the Bulldogs to accomplish on the field.

“At the level I have matriculated, my philosophy is to win,” she noted. “As a varsity head coach, we try to win at all costs because in the end, winning is most important at this level. The varsity girls practice hard, train hard and study hard. They mature, they grow as individuals and they overcome difficult obstacles. I push and test these girls to their highest potential on a daily basis.”

Sanchez went on: “They are constantly rehearsing their roles. When game day comes, that field is their stage where they understand the task at hand, which is to win,” she said. “At the junior varsity level, I truly believe development is the most important part. At this level, the girls learn the intricacies of the game. They learn how to mentally grow and prepare to get to the varsity level.”

Melissa Sanchez returns home as the former Bulldog player is now the head coach. (Photo courtesy Melissa Sanchez)

On the playing field, Sanchez prospered at every level.

“In order to be a successful player you must be coachable,” she said. “If a softball player is coachable, it means she is willing to do anything a coach asks her to do and the rest is history.”

How about being triumphant in the dugout?

“In order to be a successful head coach, one must take pride in everything that he or she does,” Sanchez said. “The way coaches represent themselves plays a big role in what you will get out of your players. A successful coach is patient and understands that coaching is a journey and not a race.”

Preparation before a game is crucial. “Emotional and physical preparation is everything. Understanding what my role is, taking good care of myself, eating healthy and working out. I study my opponent and the opposing pitchers, defense and offense,” Sanchez said. “I navigate the entire spectrum of which I will be playing.”

Even little details aren’t overlooked. “I always understood that the smallest things would give me the biggest advantages for game time,” Sanchez said. “As a coach I make sure my players prepare the way I prepared for games. Therefore, when the game starts, the players are ready to perform and execute to the best of their ability.”

Former Burbank coach Mike Delaney followed Sanchez’s career. “I coached Mely in Park and Recreation. She was a talented player who worked hard and wanted to learn the game,” he said. “She started out as a catcher, but she loved the outfield and she became a very good outfielder with great range and a strong arm. As I watched her through high school and travel ball, I always appreciated how hard she worked to get better.”

Delaney is pleased Sanchez became a coach. “When she got into coaching she became even more of a student of the game and a teacher of the game,” he said. “I am glad to see former players like her give back to the game and share their passion with younger players.”

Kris Jones coached Sanchez for two years. “The thing I remember about Mely more than anything else was just her desire to go out and get every ball,” he said. “She played center field for me and any time a ball was hit her way, I knew that she was going to give 110 percent. It was always an all-out effort. Even in practice she always wanted me to hit the ball as hard as I could in areas where she wasn’t so that she could practice giving that kind of effort. She was a great kid to coach.”

Sanchez can’t recall a time when softball wasn’t a significant part of her life.

“My high school career highlight would be making the varsity team as a freshman,” she said. “At the time, this meant the world to me. I worked endless amounts of hours in order to get a starting position for my first high school game. The hard work paid off.”

And despite not having a full season because of the coronavirus, Sanchez was able to find a high point.

“As a head coach for such a short year, my highlight would be seeing the girls get through such a tough first semester I put them through,” she offered. “I came in with so many guidelines and expectations. The tough hours of conditioning, study halls, practices, weights and no days off was an enormous workload on them. Seeing them go through all that growth was the most rewarding feeling.”

Sanchez is extremely appreciative for everyone who has had a hand in her development.

“There is an overflow of coaches that have made a difference in my life,” she said. “Every single coach that I have had has had an impact on me. I am truly grateful, blessed and thankful for each and every one of them. I strongly believe life is eclectic and success comes from a learning process.”

Rick’s Sports Corner: Vicky Oganyan, Burroughs High’s Girls Hoops Coach Is Busy

By Rick Assad

To say that Vicky Oganyan is extremely busy doesn’t entirely capture just how much the Burroughs High girls’ basketball coach is seemingly always on the run.

“It has definitely been a challenge having to teach, play college basketball, take a full-time load of classes at Glendale [Community] College and coach my own high school team,” said Oganyan, who has led the Indians to 15 CIF Southern Section appearances in 16 seasons. “However, naturally, I am a person who loves to work and love challenges.”

Oganyan, who has been coaching at Burroughs since 2004 and has seen her teams reach the quarterfinals five times, the semifinals three times and claim the Pacific League title six times including two with undefeated records, added: “When you are doing stuff you love, it is easier to push yourself and keep the drive going,” she said. “Organizing my time and just diving into the day, taking one task at a time and being in the moment has really helped me juggle everything.”

Vicky Oganyan has led Burroughs High to the CIF Southern Section playoffs in 15 of 16 seasons. (Photo courtesy Vicky Oganyan)

This basketball season is scheduled to begin in late February or early March because of the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak, but Oganyan is still busy, despite the snag.

“As far as our team, it [COVID-19] has hurt us when it comes to fundraising and kept us from being together and working on improving our individual skills,” she said. “Usually in the summer we play over 50 games, host numerous summer events including summer camps and use the free time away from school to bond as a team. Unfortunately this summer we have not been able to do that. We have tried to do the best we can by holding Zoom workouts to stay in shape, work on some ball handling skills and staying united as a team.”

Oganyan played point guard at Glendale High and was a two-year starter including her senior season, 1996-1997, in which she tossed in 17.7 points with 4.5 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 steals.

In time, Oganyan earned a bachelor’s degree in Health Science and then a master’s degree in Education Instruction and Curriculum from Cal State University Northridge.

A biology teacher at Burroughs, Oganyan, an assistant coach at GCC from 2016 until 2019 and an assistant under her mentor, Jerry Mike at Glendale High and later Valencia High, said she missed not playing college hoops, and that’s why she enrolled at GCC.

During a time out, Vicky Oganyan makes a point to her team. (Photo courtesy Vicky Oganyan)

“I have always wanted to play college basketball,” she explained. “I didn’t get the opportunity out of high school because my parents wanted me to go straight to a four-year school. For someone with as much passion as I have for the game, there was a constant void knowing that I never got that chance.”

Oganyan continued: “Anytime I would play in pickup games or play in the Armenian Leagues in the summer, that feeling of how much I missed the team competition and being on the court,” she noted. “When I started coaching at Glendale College as an assistant coach, I would jump in some drills and I just realized that I could possibly still do this. I am definitely glad that I decided to go back and play because we all have only one life to live and we should be able to pursue our dreams and go after what we love.”

Toiling for the Vaqueros, Oganyan poured in six points, with 6.6 boards, 3.8 assists and 2.3 steals per game.

A two-year varsity starter for Glendale High, Vicky Oganyan wanted to play college hoops, but didn’t. She fulfilled that void by toiling for Glendale Community College. (Photo courtesy Vicky Oganyan)

This past season playing hoops remains extremely vivid for Oganyan.

“Playing college basketball has been an amazing experience,” she said. “Just being part of a team that works together and goes through highs and lows together in pursuit of success is one of the most gratifying feelings.”

Oganyan was pleased that her college basketball playing journey was made to be a supportive and comfortable environment.

Head Coach Joel Weiss, Athletic Director Chris Cicuto, Sports Director Alex Leon, Dean of Student Affairs Tzoler Oukayan, her teammates, alumni, counselors, professors, students along with family and friends made Oganyan feel right at home.

The chance to come full circle was also a blessing for Oganyan.

“I don’t think I envisioned this specific path, but I do know from very early on my passion was in the game of basketball,” she said. “I loved everything about the game, from the feel of a basketball in your hand and the sound of the swish to its fast-paced action, opportunity for creativity, the physical play and toughness, the competitiveness and the ability to inspire the crowd.”

Oganyan added: “I think as I started coaching after graduating from high school, I realized that I also loved to teach and being a coach was the next best thing to playing basketball,” she said. “Teaching and coaching and having all the experiences, even the highest of highs and the lowest of lows has helped me grow as a person, as a teacher, as a coach and as a basketball player.”

Vicky Oganyan celebrating with her team, Burroughs High, after another victory. (Photo courtesy Vicky Oganyan)

What specifically does Oganyan enjoy about coaching?

“The best part of being a head coach is the opportunity you get to help young players get better, but also impact their overall lives,” she explained. “The relationships you built with each player as they go through your program, keeping in touch with them as they go through their college years and on, and when they come back to visit years later are priceless and without question the most satisfying.”

It’s not all apple pie and ice cream being a head coach. There are some dark days that everyone has to endure.

“The toughest part is dealing with the low points of the season or when you feel that you could have done more as a coach to have impacted a certain player or you could have done more as a coach to have helped the team be more successful,” she said.

Vicky Oganyan showing that she still has what it takes on the basketball court. (Photo courtesy Vicky Oganyan)

Oganyan’s basic principles have worked pretty well.

“Our culture emphasizes hard work, trust, unity, mental toughness, discipline and loyalty to each other and to our school,” she said. “We just believe in buying into each other and the system and doing our best.”

Getting better is something that Oganyan looks forward to.

“Losses are definitely more important than wins when it comes to growing, whether you are a coach or a player,” she said. “Losses help you focus on your weaknesses and realize what you need to do in order to improve. They keep you from being complacent and help ignite your drive.”

Having coached several hundred games, it’s no wonder that many easily pop into Oganyan’s head.

“I think we have had many memorable wins so far in my time at Burroughs,” she said. “Our first league title in 2011, a quarterfinal win at Valley View as the underdogs in 2016. Two really memorable ones include the win in the quarterfinals at Whittier Christian this year which also qualified us for the state playoffs for the first time in school history. The plays our kids had to make down the stretch to win that game on the road in a loud gym, including role players stepping up and being clutch was awesome to see.”

Oganyan went on: “The other memorable one is the 2015 quarterfinal win at home against Peninsula. That was the first time in Burroughs history we had won a quarterfinal game and qualified for the semifinals and to do it in Division I as well as with a team that set a school record for wins at 30-3,” she said. “We had a sold out crowd with both sides of the gym packed as well as a loud and supportive student section going crazy. When the buzzer went off and the student section rushed the court and celebrated with our players at center court it was awesome to see for our players, our program, but also for the school.”

Rick’s Sports Corner: Burroughs High’s Nicholas Garcia, Football, Hoop Dynamo

By Rick Assad

There is something special to be said about a person who can play two high school sports at the varsity level.

Beside being good enough to make each squad, there is also the time spent on the practice field or in the gymnasium, then actually playing the games and also being a student in the classroom.

Being able to do all three are time consuming and takes a great deal of hard work along with a fulltime commitment and it’s going to result in sweat, triumphs and some setbacks, but it also means they are determined.

Nicholas Garcia did just that for Burroughs High, as the recent graduate toiled at quarterback for the football team in the fall for two seasons and was the point guard on the basketball squad in the winter for a couple of campaigns.

Nicholas Garcia unloading a pass for the Indians. The senior threw for nearly 2,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. (Photo courtesy Nicholas Garcia)

Each position that Garcia played entailed being the field or floor leader which can also be mentally draining.

Football is a real contact sport and because it is, can be tough physically on the body.

So let’s not kid ourselves, one has to be extremely tough to play the game.

While basketball isn’t generally considered a contact sport, it can be at times, especially under the boards battling for a rebound or trying to defend underneath the basket.

Garcia, who will attend Glendale Community College where he’ll play football, knew the challenges and welcomed them.

But like everyone else, though, Garcia and football this fall will be on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Both sports, when I’m having fun, I’m playing great, making smart reads,” said Garcia, who passed for 1,980 yards with 30 touchdown tosses, ran for 415 yards with seven scores and added 20 extra points in 2019. “When I’m not playing so well, the communication with my teammates or coaches may be off. So I would fix it.”

As the football field general and primary ball-handler for the basketball squad, Garcia was in charge.

“I feel that I was a leader in both sports. I feel that bond with my teammates on and off the field and can lead them in the right direction and I know they feel the same way,” said Garcia, who was named by the team as the Most Valuable Player. “That’s why they trust me to be their quarterback and point guard.”

Nicholas Garcia could also run effectively with the football. But here he’s pitching the ball to a running back. (Photo courtesy Nicholas Garcia)

Because no team wins all of its games, there are highs and lows, with the latter always requiring a cool head.

In 2019, the Burroughs football team began its season with five consecutive wins before losing four straight.

But in the final regular season match and a large throng at Memorial Field, the Indians, who went 6-4 overall and 2-4 in the Pacific League, pulled out an incredible 29-28 victory.

“The Burbank-Burroughs game this year was absolutely amazing,” Garcia said. “The atmosphere in the stadium was electric. The feeling when we won is indescribable. I will never forget that day.”

In 2018, the Indians football team struggled to a 2-8 record and a 2-5 mark in the league and was one in which Garcia was named Most Valuable Skills Player.

“When both sports went through a rough patch, I immediately hopped in and communicated with my teammates on how we can fix it,” Garcia said. “Communication is the key to winning. I will always believe in that.”

Football and basketball offered a different mindset for Garcia, who plans on transferring to UC Davis or Cal Poly Pomona.

Nicholas Garcia wasn’t afraid to get his uniform dirty. Here he goes over the top of a Burbank defender. (Photo courtesy Nicholas Garcia)

“My mental approach for both sports was not the same,” Garcia said. “I went into football games with a set game plan knowing what to call and the different defenses I would see throughout the game. Basketball, the sport itself, is on the go. You must make different plays and be ready in a faster time.”

Garcia tried to make both sports fun for himself and his teammates.

“What I loved about football was being able to throw the ball to some of my best friends and having a party on the sideline every game,” he said, referring to when the Indians scored points. “Basketball I loved being around my friends and playing fast the whole time.”

The Indians had a successful hoops campaign during his senior season after posting a 19-10 record and 7-7 in league.

For his part, Garcia tossed in an average of about eight points and handed out roughly six assists per contest last season.

Burroughs defeated rival Burbank on the road 70-57, but lost at home 46-42 and was stymied on the road by St. Bonaventure 55-45 in a CIF Southern Section Division III-A opening-round match.

“Nick brought leadership to the basketball team and a certain tenacity to the team with his play,” Burroughs coach Allan Ellis said of Garcia. “Coming from football as a quarterback, our kids naturally followed his lead.”

In the previous season, the Indians went 11-16 in all games and posted a 4-10 mark in league and missed the playoffs.

The Indians did manage to beat the visiting Bulldogs 66-61, but lost to host Burbank, 83-49.

It’s impossible to succeed entirely, but Garcia, who was always willing to speak after a game and break it down during a postgame interview, was able to come away with enough wins and enough highs.

“My best asset for both sports is sharing the ball and my instinct,” he said. “I love setting up my teammates for success. It’s an amazing feeling.”

Garcia admitted that football came just a little bit easier than hoops. “I think playing basketball is harder than playing football,” he noted. “I just feel this way because football comes more natural to me.”

Though his high school athletic career is over, Garcia knows that he gave everything he had to offer and was willing to sacrifice his body.

“For football, I am most proud of leading my guys out every game at the best of my abilities, whether we won or lost,” he said. “I know I put my all in it. For basketball, I was most proud that I could set my guys up and have fun with them whether we won or lost.”

When Garcia reflects on his time at Burroughs, he is pleased and will carry fond memories of his time at the school.

“What I will remember most about playing two sports at Burroughs would be the practices would never stop,” he said. “I would always be playing one or another.”

Rick’s Sports Corner: Burroughs High’s Steven Hubbell, Hoopster, Gunslinger

By Rick Assad

There were times when Steven Hubbell made playing basketball and football for Burroughs High seem effortless.

Whether it was hitting an open teammate for an easy hoop or tossing a perfect spiral downfield, Hubbell was always thinking on his feet and usually made the right play.

Of course, this isn’t easy, but Hubbell was able to elevate his skills while toiling at point guard and quarterback at the prep level.

After a brief stay at Cal Lutheran University, which is a Division III program and Glendale Community College, Hubbell, a 2016 graduate, is a senior on the men’s basketball team at the University of Hawaii Hilo where he’s coming off a campaign in which he played in 21 of the 26 games and drilled 42.1 percent of his three-pointers (eight of 19).

Hubbell, standing 6-foot, 1-inch and weighing 170 pounds, said despite loving both sports, he simply couldn’t turn his back on basketball, where he averaged 12 points with four rebounds and four assists at Burroughs.

Steven Hubbell, shown in a game from last season when he was a junior. (Photo courtesy Steven Hubbell)

“I personally like basketball more,” he said. “I just enjoy the fast pace, up and down action. I like football too, but basketball was always a love thing for me.”

The journey that brought Hubbell to Hawaii Hilo is something that has made him stronger and more determined.

“I knew I wanted to pursue basketball at the collegiate level. After my career at John Burroughs, I was first committed to Cal Lutheran University,” he said. “The second week I was there, the head coach decided to retire, so I quickly left for Glendale Community College after the semester and immediately redshirted so I could practice with the team in preparation for the next year. I spent two years under Coach [Vigen] Jilizian and was honored All-Western State Conference my last year at GCC. I was blessed to be recruited by the University of Hawaii Hilo, where I’m happily at right now.”

Hubbell is extremely thankful for having the opportunity to play for the Vaqueros where he averaged 11.6 points with four boards and 3.2 assists and canned 51 three-pointers as a sophomore.

“The junior college system is not easy, but I found it worth it, looking back now,” he said. “A lot of people don’t find success after JUCO, so I’m blessed that it’s not the case for me.”

Steven Hubbell, a two-sport athlete at Burroughs High, has one more season left at the University of Hawaii Hilo. (Photo courtesy Steven Hubbell)

Like the world at large, everything is at a standstill because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Hubbell, like so many athletes, is trying to stay in shape and is hoping for the best.

“There will obviously be no summer workouts with the team,” he said. “It’s just our responsibility to stay in shape and ready to get back to basketball. As of May 11, my school still plans to have in-person classes for the fall. However, anything could happen and I’m sure they will see what other schools across the world are doing and go from there.”

Hubbell, a Business Management major who played basketball for three seasons and football for two at Burroughs, said that playing two sports are challenging, but he found a way to succeed.

“I’d say a high level of focus is one, but also a strong work ethic is key,” he said. “I also thought that focusing on winning and what I can do to better my team helped in the long run.”

Playing point guard and quarterback are similar in many respects, according to Hubbell, who was named All-Pacific League first-team as a senior, second-team as a junior and honorable mention as a sophomore while playing basketball.

“You must be a leader whether that is encouraging your guys or by being in the front during drills,” he said. “We had tremendous talent on both teams and a lot of us are playing at the next level right now. I love to compete, so my attitude was very similar in both sports.”

A 10-game regular season football schedule can be grueling and when the CIF Southern Section games are added, it was even more taxing for Hubbell, who was selected All-CIF and was named the Pacific League Offensive Player of the Year in football as a senior.

“It was tough my senior year because I hurt my back my last football game,” said Hubbell, who threw for 1,853 yards and tossed 27 scoring passes and ran for six touchdowns. “I had to miss the next week of basketball practice which killed me, because I was eager to get out there on the court. It took me a couple of games to get back in condition, but after that, it was smooth.”

Ultimately, the Indians’ postseason run during Hubbell’s senior year in football and basketball was incredible, even if each didn’t reach their final destination.

“We made it to the quarters that year [2015], but we did win the Pacific League,” Hubbell explained. “Looking back, it was a great experience because Burroughs hadn’t won a conference title in many years and haven’t won one since. I take pride in that even though we fell short of our real goal of a CIF championship.”

The Indians went 10-2 and 7-0 in league after routing the Bulldogs 47-21 in the regular-season finale.

Their season concluded when they fell to host St. Francis 21-7, in part because their best running back, Chance Bell, who is playing for San Diego State, was out with an injury.

The final regular-season contest against Burbank was something to behold. “Memorial Field was packed and we secured our Pacific League title,” Hubbell explained of its singular importance.

Several months later at the Indians’ gymnasium, Hubbell capped off his high school athletic career when Burroughs faced highly-ranked Santa Monica in the CIF semifinals, with a full house in attendance.

“We played against a guy named Jonah Mathews, who gave us the work and he just finished his career at USC, which is my favorite school, so it was salt in the wound every time I watch the Trojans,” he said. “But the atmosphere was crazy that night and I’ll never forget that.”

Mathews was almost unstoppable, scoring at will against the Indians, who lost 68-45 and finished 22-8 and 9-5 in league, hitting three-pointers, something that he would do at USC, where he broke the career school record with 247.

Hubbell said playing two demanding sports isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you have the desire, go right ahead.

“I’d say go play three [sports] if you have enough energy,” he said. “It may be mentally draining at times, but if you’re passionate about the sport then you could sacrifice a little. But just know that your summer’s will be all booked up. You will also make friends for life!”

Burbank Schools Develop Digital Media And Manufacturing Programs

Burbank city and school officials, along with executives from Burbank studios, attended the Verdugo Creative Technology Consortium (VCTC) reception Wednesday, October 29, at Glendale Community College.

The event celebrated the recent announcement of a six million dollar grant from the State of California to fund development of digital media and manufacturing programs for area students.

“We are collaborating with local industry leaders to develop pathway programs that prepare students for workforce needs in digital media and digital manufacturing fields,” said Dr. David Viar, president of Glendale Community College.

Eric Simkin (mOcean), Carrie Brown (BAFA), John Paramo (BUSD), Zita Lefebvre (Cartoon Network), Peggy Flynn (BUSD), Lisa Rawlins (Warner Bros.), Superintendent Dr. Jan Britz (BUSD), Charlene Tabet (Board of Education), Sharon Cuseo (BUSD), Burbank City Manager Mark Scott, Kimberley Clark (BUSD), Burbank Mayor Dr. David Gordon and Dave Kemp (Board of Education) celebrate the kick off of the Verdugo Creative Technologies Consortium.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Eric Simkin (mOcean), Carrie Brown (Burbank Arts For All Foundation), John Paramo (BUSD), Zita Lefebvre (Cartoon Network), Peggy Flynn (BUSD), Lisa Rawlins (Warner Bros.), Superintendent Dr. Jan Britz (BUSD), Charlene Tabet (Board of Education), Sharon Cuseo (BUSD), Burbank City Manager Mark Scott, Kimberley Clark (BUSD), Burbank Mayor Dr. David Gordon and Dave Kemp (Board of Education) celebrate the kick off of the Verdugo Creative Technologies Consortium.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“We need local entertainment and manufacturing companies to provide mentors, internships and a variety of other opportunities that allow our students to develop new skills, expand their list of achievements and build relationships with professionals,” he added.

Burbank Mayor Dr. David Gordon, City Manager Mark Scott and City Treasurer Debbie Kukta joined BUSD Superintendent Dr. Jan Britz, Board of Education members Charlene Tabet, Dave Kemp and president Dr. Roberta Reynolds and BUSD administrators at the event.

They were joined by Lisa Rawlins from Warner Bros. Studios, Zita Lefebvre from Cartoon Network and Eric Simkin of mOcean. Those movie and digital media studios, along with Nickelodeon Animation Studios have agreed to partner with Burbank Unified School District in developing classes that teach skills necessary for the twenty-first century workplace.

Burbank Unified’s Director of Instruction and Accountability Sharon Cuseo detailed more of Burbank schools and businesses partnership with the VCTC in an previously published interview with myBurbank.

Eric Simkin of mOcean, Lisa Rawlin of Warner Bros. Studios and Zita Lefebvre of Cartoon Network partner with Burbank Unified School District to develop tech and arts savvy classes. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Eric Simkin of mOcean, Lisa Rawlin of Warner Bros. Studios and Zita Lefebvre of Cartoon Network partner with Burbank Unified School District to develop tech and arts savvy classes. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Cuseo organized the Burbank part of the VCTC partnership, while Robert Mejia from the Verdugo Workforce Investment Board (VWIB) put the entire grant application together. BUSD and VWIB joined Glendale Unified School District, California State University at Northridge and Glendale Community College to create the VCTC.

“Last night was a great kick off for the work we want to do as a consortium,” commented Cuseo. “It gives us the opportunity to establish greater partnerships between all the partners and the community.”

“The potential for Burbank students and local business is exciting,” she added.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) has been a popular buzzword in education for years. Recently, many educators and businesses have emphasized the need for an Arts, or creative, component to learning, technology and manufacturing, making the buzzword now STEAM.

“Technical skills applied creatively generate the kinds of innovation that sustain local economic development,” Viar also said. “Our goal is not to ask high school students to declare their life long career at 14. Instead our goal is to provide students with foundational skills that enable them to make choices.”

Board of Education Approves Classes For College And High School Credit

Burbank Unified’s Board of Education approved agreements with Glendale Community College (GCC) and L.A. Valley College (LAVC) for specific courses at Burbank and Burroughs High Schools to qualify for college course credit. The classes would also count towards high school graduation requirements.

BUSD Logo“This is actually pretty exciting,” commented Sharon Cuseo, Director of Instruction and Accountability for the district, as she explained ways the agreements fulfill Common Core emphasis on college and career readiness for graduating high school students.

Courses at Burbank High School that will garner college credit at GCC include Regional Occupational Program (ROP) Professional Film and Stagecraft Technology. Burroughs High School ROP classes for Video Production, Stagecraft Technology and Video Production & Film are accepted in the articulation agreement.

Two classes – JBHS’ ROP Aircraft & Small Engines and BHS’ ROP Popenomics – were approved for the agreement with LAVC. The Popenomics course at BHS will examine the social and cultural impact of film and it is expected to begin at BHS in the future, according to Cuseo.

Students in ROP Professional Film “learn enough in that course that it takes the place of an entry-level course at the community college,” Cuseo added.

After students take the end of course exam, they will receive credit for the class.

When the students go on to enroll in either GCC or LAVC after high school, the college level course they took in high school is transferred and students may then take high levels courses earlier in their college career.

Cuseo noted and thanked Diana Dysthe, the district’s ROP Counselor, for her efforts in connecting high school teachers with GCC and LAVC professors to discuss the course content and develop the program.

This agreement is a first step towards a possible dual enrollment program between BUSD and local colleges, she went on to say.

“We’ve always wanted this for our students,” Cuseo said. She attributed financial incentives from the state as an impetus for colleges now seeking to develop these sorts of programs with local high schools.

The articulation agreement was approved unanimously by the Board of Education Thursday evening, August 7, and will be reviewed annually.